Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn
In the deep south of France, Patrick Melrose has the run of his parents' house and magical garden, and the company of his vivid imagination. Yet his tyrannical father rules this world with considered cruelty, while his mother makes her escape into alcoholism. The life of the house is intense and unpredictable, and never more so than on this particular day. David and Eleanor are to host a dinner party, and the shocking events that precede the guests' arrival will shape the rest of Patrick's life. Never Mind is the first of the Melrose novels. Moving between heartbreak and devastating wit, it explores the damaging reach of parenthood and introduces an unforgettable cast of characters.